27 December 2012

Egypt: First Session of Shura Council's 33rd Round Starts

As Egypt struggles to set up a new political system, a new body has assumed law making powers. The upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, has ... ( Resource: Egypt's Parliament Sets Agenda Ahead of Polls )

The first session of the 33rd round of the Shura Council started on Wednesday 26/12/2012 in the presence of the 90 new lawmakers who were appointed by President Mohamed Morsi.

The newcomers were sworn in at the beginning of the session.

Security was beefed up around the headquarters of the parliament in anticipation of new protests following the announcement of the official results of the constitution vote and the rejection of some of the Shura Council's new appointments, which opponents say, included former members of the dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP).

Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and Minister of State for Legal Affairs and Parliamentary Councils Mohamed Mahsoub attended the session.

All Shura Council lawmakers overwhelmingly agreed to move their sessions to the hall of the House of Representatives, known in the previous constitution as the People's Assembly, because of the inability of the current hall to absorb them all after the joining of the 90 newcomers appointed by Morsi.

The MPs agreed to this temporary solution until another one is mulled.

The Shura Council has now legislative authority after it was handed over to it by President Morsi. By this, the upper house will take on the responsibility of adopting legislation, foremost among which is a new parliamentary elections law.

Shura Council Speaker Ahmed Fahmy said that the President was keen that all new appointees would represent different currents and political directives.

He thanked Morsi for delivering on his promises to achieve the goals of the Revolution by fighting corruption and setting up the State of law.

"The Council has now full legislative authority and will remain assuming this task until the formation of a new House of Representatives," Fahmy said.

He hoped that stability will be achieved and all State institutions will be re-built to achieve hoped-for development.

He added that the new constitution that was approved by the majority of Egyptians guarantees respecting the dignity of the people, independence of judiciary and the rule of law.

Fahmy urged everyone to work hand in hand and discard sedition to achieve the rest of the Revolution's goals and get out of the current economic crisis.

Fahmy thanked the Constituent Assembly chaired by Counselor Hossam el-Gheriani for the effort exerted so that a new constitution is written.

Judges who supervised the vote on the draft constitution and the High Election Commission (HEC) also deserve a thank-you, the Shura speaker said. All their efforts to have a transparent vote are greatly appreciated, he noted.

Fahmy was also thankful to the martyrs of the January 25th Revolution, as well as the injured. "Our hearts go out to ... the Revolution victims," who lost their lives or got wounded for the sake of Egypt and its people, Fahmy said.

He urged Egyptians to unite to achieve the goals of the Revolution and overcome the current economic crisis. "All thinking minds and working hands are needed to put Egypt in the lead," he told the inaugural session of the Shura Council.

Fahmy renewed vows to the Egyptian people to continue to work with the government and all state institutions to achieve the goals of the January 25th Revolution.

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